With one of two new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies being given a new release date, there's no better time to look back at all the six movies in the franchise so far!
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise started life as an underground comic book back in 1984, but quickly became a pop culture phenomenon, and by 1987, was given its own kids' cartoon treatment.
32 years on, and the heroes in a half-shell are yet to take a career break, with six movies, and decades' worth of graphic novels, video games, and animated shows (and even a weird live-action show) under its belt.
But there are also two new movies on the horizon, so, starting all the way back with the original movie in 1990, here are all the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies, ranked from worst to best!
Yes, including TMNT: Mutant Mayhem. If you're worried about spoilers, there won't be!
Table of Contents
- 7. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993)
- 6. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991)
- 5. TMNT (2007)
- 4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
- 3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
- 2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016)
- 1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (2023)
7. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993)
The third movie in the original series, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, leaves a lot to be desired. The Turtles abandon New York for feudal Japan when they encounter a time-traveling artifact.
But it's not the concept that's the problem — it's the jarring shift in the quality of the Turtles' costumes, as well as the overly-comical tone of the movie (which really started with the 1993 sequel, The Secret of the Ooze).
If you like your half-shell heroes dripping with cheese, though, you'll probably find some enjoyment in this movie. After all, like Batman, the Turtles work in more ways than one, whether it's somewhat serious or incredibly cheesy.
6. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991)
If you're a fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, you might have convinced yourself that, at least when you were a child, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, was the best thing since sliced pizza.
Unfortunately, it isn't, as the test of time has proven. But is there still some nostalgic fun to be had with this sequel, whose anchovies include Vanilla Ice rapping the now-immortalized "Go, Ninja, Go!"? Well, of course!
The Secret of the Ooze suffered when parents complained about the "violence" in the animated show. But even if Michelangelo's nunchucks hadn't been replaced with sausages, would it really have been that great?!
5. TMNT (2007)
There was a time when 2007's CG-animated movie TMNT would have ranked a lot higher than fifth place, but over time, its flaws have made themselves known, despite it still being one of the strongest entries.
First of all, TMNT is a beautiful movie, and seeing the Turtles in CG for the first time was a real treat (strangely enough, it's difficult to imagine them in any other format these days).
The fight between Leonardo and Raphael is easily the best moment in the movie, but unfortunately, the plot is flatter than a thin-crust pizza, and the movie's villains are among the worst in the entire franchise so far.
Still, it's a good start off for the TMNT film franchise, considering this is the first to have been CG-ed.
4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
We get it — you've probably started choking on your pizza! But despite the whirlwind of controversy, the Michael Bay-produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot suffered before hitting theaters, it really isn't that bad!
Sure, the so-called plot is pretty bad, and don't get us started on the Shredder debacle (William Fitchner was originally Shredder, but a 'new' Shredder was shoehorned in, and the reshoots were painfully obvious).
But if you're looking for an action-packed Turtles movie whose lead stars are particularly stand-out (despite their new look being a very tough thing to get used to), you'll find something to appreciate here.
3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
Are you choking on that slice of pizza again, or has it hit the computer screen? Yes, seeing the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie not in first place (or at least, second) might be a bit controversial, as it's unanimously considered a fan-favorite.
But with that said, the passage of time hasn't been all that kind, as it's still a little cheesy. The costumes, however, are stunning, and we don't think many fans would complain at seeing them back on the big screen.
And the movie has made our second spot for a reason, which is the same reason why it became the highest-grossing independent movie of all time, at least until The Blair Witch Project took that title in 1999 — it's awesome.
2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016)
Perhaps not as controversial as we might think, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, the one-and-only follow-up to the 2014 reboot, is generally considered a vast improvement over its predecessor.
You could argue that it's not such a hard thing to accomplish, but Out of the Shadows is, at least as a fan-pleaser, the best movie in the entire franchise so far. And if you're a fan of the original '80s cartoon, you'll know why.
Despite being a sequel, the movie retcons certain elements of the 2014 installment and is essentially a live-action adaptation of your favorite childhood cartoon. What more could you want from a Ninja Turtles movie?!
1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (2023)
Maybe TMNT: Mutant Mayhem has played with the nostalgic heart strings tugging on each and every Turtles fans out there, but there is no doubt that the most recent TMNT film is definitely the best out of the franchise so far.
Apart from its Spider-Verse slash The Mitchells Vs. The Machines style animation format, we get to see — for the first time ever in its cinematic history! — the Turtles being and acting like actual teenagers!
It's not the type of movie that would necessarily irk the adults away, in fact, maybe even relate a bit with what their kids are about to see. Essentially, this film it not only meant for hardcore Turtles fans, especially since it's a reboot for the TMNT franchise.
Great casting, great animation, and a ton of easter eggs and references — what more could you want in a TMNT film?
Not to spoil you too much of the film, but it's definitely a must-see, especially when TMNT: Mutant Mayhem is getting a sequel, as per Variety way before the film was even released in theaters.